What is Social Innovation?

so·cial in·no·va·tion, n.

Social innovation is the creation of new ideas that address social problems by reconceiving the status quo to create more sustainable and just systems that benefit marginalized groups and society as a whole. To meet this definition, these ideas should be able to demonstrate their impact and consider pathways to financial sustainability and scale.

These innovations may be introduced to society through several approaches including social entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, public policy, community organizing, and social movements. 

Social Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship 

Social entrepreneurship implements social innovation through the creation of new organizations of various forms including non-profit, hybrid and for-profit. Social intrapreneurship introduces similar innovations through existing organizations. 

Social Enterprises 

Social enterprises are organizations whose business models prioritize social justice motives, stakeholder accountability, and reinvestment in mission over the strict financial returns and shareholder interests prioritized by traditional private sector practice; these organizations may or may not be social entrepreneurship. 

Read more about social innovation in action on Swearer Sparks